Geo work experience at OS

Elsa joined our Data Office in Southampton for work experience recently and shares her experience within the team.

I’m in year 12 studying Geography, Maths, Further Maths and English A-Levels in Devon. Once in the Data Office team I had the chance to work on my own project, which was on the archaeological sites of Dartmoor. This was ideal as I became interested in OS mapping from walking on the moors training for the Ten Tors challenge.

After gathering information on my chosen archaeological sites, I edited a html index file to create an interactive map which zoomed into different sites when the name of that site was highlighted. I then went on to use QGIS and Mapbox to highlight the specific areas containing the archaeological sites.

At this point, my project was complete on a very basic level as I had achieved what I had set out to do – creating an interactive map of some sites on Dartmoor. However, I still had things that I could do to make it better. For example, I added a fact file next to all of the sites, with information from the internet on that site, such as its length and age. I also added a hyperlink to another site within that fact file. This I achieved through adding extra code onto the html file, which I had never done before, so it was gratifying to see it working on screen. Once this was done, I also could play around with the way it looked, such as changing the text to being in italics or altering where the hyperlink opened.

Another improvement I chose to make – which I’m most pleased with – was to change the look of the highlighted area at each site. Instead of just being a flat shape, I wanted it to look like the feature that it was representing – either a stone circle, stone row or menhir (standing stone). I did this by going back into QGIS and editing the shapes of the polygons at the sites. I then loaded this new information into Mapbox and changed the colour to grey so that it looked similar to granite. After that, I edited the heights so that they appeared 3D, making sure to make the menhirs taller than the other features. To show this off, I had to edit the html index so that the pitch was greater.

Being able to create something using completely unfamiliar software in a very short amount of time was really exciting, particularly as I was given the freedom to do it on an area that I know really well. It was great to translate my knowledge from ground level to an aerial perspective and to get an insight into how GIS software can be used to present data in creative ways.

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